EXPLORING AN EXTENDED WORKING LIFE FOR TEACHERS - A qualitative study
Purpose: The purpose of the present study is to explore the possibility of an extended working life for teachers and to understand how organisations can work to encourage an extended working life for teachers. Theory: In the present study, the analytical framework includes two concepts to understand both the present and possible HR policies and practices for encouraging an extended working life. First, to analyse the present HR practices and policies targeting older teachers, the framework developed by Taylor & Walker (1998) for analysing the employer approach to older workers has been applied. Second, to understand the drivers for an extended working life among teachers and how organisations can work to encourage an extended working life, the concept of push, pull, stay, stuck and jump factors has been applied (Shultz et al., 1998; Stattin, 2009; Andersen & Sundrup, 2009; Jensen, 2005). Method: The study adopts a qualitative research design using semi-structured interviews. In total, 14 interviews have been performed with 6 older teachers (55 years or older), 4 principals and 4 HR professionals from two organisations from the public sector. Result: The result shows that there are no formalised HR policies targeting older teachers in neither organisation. The lack of formalised HR policies targeting older teachers suggests that the organisations have not adopted a strategic approach towards their older teachers. However, principals have developed their own practices for how to manage and retain older teachers, indicating that there is a need for HR policies targeting older teachers. Further, the older teachers shared that they find retirement attractive since they want to spend their time on other things, except for working. To encourage an extended working life, it would be necessary for organisations to make adjustments for older teachers and to make it more attractive for teachers to stay, rather than retire. Based on the results from the study, this can be done by providing flexible work schedules, redesigning work tasks to be more appealing and providing financial incentives to continue working.